Seasonal Chu-hai: Suntory Cherry and Strawberry

There are currently a number of seasonal sakura inspired eats and drinks on store shelves  - from Sakura pocky to Sakura ice cream and loads more.  If you fancy an alcoholic beverage with a bit of sakura flair, Suntory have a couple of seasonal options on store shelves right now, with a strawberry and a cherry variety - both cans look very much the part, with that famous cherry blossom design adorning the cans.
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So what is chu-hai?

Chu-hai is an alcoholic drink that originates here in Japan - the name itself is a shortened form of "shochu highball", and you'll find it sold everywhere from bars and restaurants through to convenience stores and supermarkets. There are a wide number of flavors on the market at any one time, including lemon, grape, orange, apple and peach -- but it's a good idea to keep your eyes peeled, since there are often limited time only seasonal releases as well (a really tasty one to check out in the autumn months here is the nashi pear variety!)

You'll also find some wide variations in the alcohol content of chu-hai. Generally speaking, you'll find them start out at around 3% alcohol content, through to around 9% (such as Kirin Strong, for instance).

The Suntory strawberry and cherry chu-hai varieties above were found at my local supermarket and were priced at just over 100 yen a can.

And hey, even if you're not a fan of fruity alcoholic drinks, there are a number of brands of beer that currently have sakura blossoms on their cans, too! Check at any convenience store and you're almost guaranteed to find something. They're perfect to take with you to a hanami picnic celebration - Japan doesn't have laws that prohibit public drinking, so go ahead and cheers to that (in moderation, of course!)

Enjoy Japan, and Safe Travels!

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